Concert Reviews

98 Degrees Partied Like It Was 1999 at South Side Ballroom

98 Degrees
With O-Town, Dream and Ryan Cabrera
South Side Ballroom, Dallas
Monday, July 11, 2016

On Monday night, nostalgia in the flesh walked through the door of South Side Ballroom. Five female friends had dressed for the show like it was 1999: overalls, plaid shirts, chokers, jean shorts, and the like.

The '90s-clad women were celebrating a 31st birthday with the help of Dream, O-Town, Ryan Cabrera and 98 Degrees. 

Yes, South Side Ballroom was host to the My2K Tour. While the pop stars once filled arenas in the early 2000s, in 2016 they are performing to thousands of nostalgic women in South Side Ballroom on a Monday night.  

The scene of the My2K Tour is young moms looking to get out of the house. Monday night, they did it with a relatively cheap concert ticket and the promise to see their J-14 posters in the flesh.
Dream ("He Loves U Not") opened the show, followed by Making the Band group, O-Town. O-Town performed as expected: kind of like a boy band out of their prime for more than a decade. Cabrera, a musician who was never meant to be more than a church worship leader, was next. With just him and his guitar, his vocals weren't great as he sang old songs, unreleased new ones and covers.

But finally after the old-school music videos in between sets and all the anticipation, it was time for the reason all the moms called in a babysitter for the night. It was the big show. It was mother-effin' 98 Degrees. You know, the awkward bronze medal boy band who played second runner up to the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC in the Boy Band Olympics.

98 Degrees is the band fronted by Nick Lachey. You know Lachey as Jessica Simpson's first husband. Caught up? 98 Degrees was there to rock your world! And they did it in their camouflage cargo pants and sleeveless black hoodies to bring everyone back to their favorite decade.
Well, there were some '90s mixed in there, too. In fact, during the middle of 98 Degrees' set, they outdid every great wedding band before them and played all the pop hits — while dancing! They covered Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Prince and even their boy band rivals, the gold and silver medal winners.

This kind of tour has the basic makings to be tragic. Instead of earning their living by buying a strip mall and calling it a day, these outdated musicians (if you can call them that; only 98 Degrees performed with live music) wanted to leave their families and tour again. And for the most part, it was pulled off.

98 Degrees, the easy highlight of the night, gave the audience exactly what they wanted: A way to feel young again. And while there's something a little sad about 40-year-old men wearing cargo pants and living in their glory days, they looked like they were genuinely enjoying themselves. They knew their purpose. They thankfully didn't sing any new songs. There was crowd interaction. Hell, there were even costume changes.

But the best part of all of this, kids, is one day you'll be celebrating your 31st birthday with $40 One Direction tickets in downtown Dallas.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner